WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Annette Taddeo has decided to trade in the state capital for the nation's capital.
The Democratic state senator from Miami announced Monday that she is dropping out of the Florida governor's race and will instead pursue a congressional seat.
Taddeo will try to unseat U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., for Florida's 27th congressional district.
After longtime Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen retired in 2018, Salazar lost to Democrat and former University of Miami President Donna Shalala, but she defeated Shalala in a rematch two years later upon receiving an endorsement from then-President Donald Trump.
"After the tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde and a conversation with my daughter about the realities our kids face daily, I knew what I needed to do," Taddeo said in a statement. "We are at a pivotal moment in our country and we desperately need leadership in Washington that can be trusted to put politics aside for the best interests of Miamians. I'm excited for the opportunity to earn the trust and support of the people who live in Florida's 27th congressional district, which includes much of the area I've been grateful to represent in my historic time in the Florida Senate since 2017."
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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is rumored to be eyeing the White House in 2024, will face the winner of the Democratic primary between U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who was governor from 2007 to 2011, and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Taddeo was Crist's running mate when he ran for governor in 2014, but they lost to now-Sen. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera in the general election.
Although she was trailing Crist and Fried in the latest Mason-Dixon polling, Taddeo recently told WPTV's Michael Buczyner that she was confident she could win the Democratic nomination.
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"I'm not running against Charlie," she said during an April appearance on "To the Point." "I'm running for the nomination and I am making sure that we have the strongest candidate against DeSantis. Look, this is not about Charlie. This is not about me. This is not about Nikki."
Taddeo has twice previously sought a seat in Congress, losing both times.
Julia Friedland, Florida communications director for the Republican National Committee, wasted little time chiming in on Taddeo's announcement.
"The third wheel of the Florida Democrat primary for governor, Annette Taddeo, just lost her fourth race in Florida," Friedland said in a statement. "It won't be long until Charlie Crist follows suit."